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Re-establish Your Purpose, Goals, and Priorities

Get on the path to becoming a 'monumental thinker.'

Allyson Lewis, 12/18/2008

There is a radical difference between "incremental thinkers" and "monumental thinkers." "Incremental thinkers" are focusing on setting goals to make their own lives better, while the "monumental thinkers" have completely shifted their focus and are constantly setting goals that make the lives of others better.

The last few weeks of extreme volatility in the markets have forced all of us in the financial services industry to rethink our purpose, our goals and our priorities. As business men and women, we are aware that in order to be successful we must clearly and articulately define the objectives we are most interested in accomplishing. Our purpose is how we use our individual gifts and talents to serve others. Our goals are how we define and clarify how we will utilize our purpose to serve the world around us. And the order in which we accomplish each of these goals will become our priorities. While the three concepts cannot really be separated they should be looked at independently.

Purpose is:
* What we do for others
* How we use our gifts and talents to change the world
* Love is the foundation of purpose

In almost all of the practice management training workshops that I have taught over the last several years, the very first exercise I ask the participants to complete is the "Purpose Exercise." I will ask them to take their pen and write at the top of a blank sheet of paper these five words:


Then, I will set a timer for seven minutes and ask them to write as fast as they can about what they believe to be their personal fundamental purpose in life. I will encourage them to write about the things in life that they love. I will ask them to write about their gifts and strengths. I will ask them to try to write as fast as they can for the entire seven minutes to try to discover what their purpose in life is.

That simple exercise has regularly been a life-changing moment for people. I was 43 years old before I took time to define my purpose in life; once my purpose was defined it changed my life forever. It was during a quarterly team meeting five years ago that our team decided we each wanted to discover what was important to us. Here is what I wrote:

"My purpose in life is GROWING. In life, I want to grow and change. I want to be different tomorrow than I am today. I want to grow as a wife--to be more in love with my husband, to hold hands more often, to enjoy long talks late into the night, and to share our hopes and dreams. I want to grow as a mother--to watch my children mature into their own destinies. I want to grow as a spiritual person--to become kinder, wiser, more hopeful, and more understanding. I want to grow my skills as a financial advisor and help my clients grow their assets. I want to work at my job with joy and honesty and integrity. I want each day to be filled with fun and excitement and challenge. And, I want to help others bring about meaningful changes in their own lives, by sharing my discoveries and ideas.  My purpose in life is fulfilled by growing and through helping others grow."

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